Dianne Crittenden, Casting Director on ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Pretty Woman,’ Dies at 82

Dianne Crittenden, casting director on some of the most notable features of the 1970s and ’80s including “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope,” “Days of Heaven” and “Pretty Woman,” died March 19. She was 82.

She died Wednesday in Pacific Palisades, Calif., according to her friend and mentee Ilene Starger.

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Crittenden would go on to have a prolific career in casting lasting over 40 years. Crittenden’s credits include “The Thin Red Line,” “On Golden Pond,” “Witness,” “Badlands,” “Oh! God,” “Howard the Duck,” “Wise Guys” and “Spiderman 2.” She was nominated for a CSA Artios award for “Witness.” She worked with some of the industry’s most prominent directors, such as Ridley Scott, Peter Bogdanovich, Wes Craven, George Romero and Brian De Palma.

In a 2010 featurette included in the Criterion Collection release, Crittenden spoke about her experiences working with Terrence Malick, or “Terry” as she calls him, on his WWII drama “The Thin Red Line.”

“Terry’s idea was he didn’t want to work with stars, he wanted people that you would just believe were the characters. His way was just to make it as real as possible, and to make it as real as possible would be people you didn’t recognize,” Crittenden said. “So one of the things we had to do, we had to figure out which ones are the ones that are going to be the quote ‘stars’ of the movie without them being stars.”

Crittenden also worked extensively in television, with credits including “The Awakening Land,” “Sybil” and “The New Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Crittenden was born in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y. on Aug. 6, 1941 and started her career as an elementary school teacher. She broke into film and television when she teamed up with photographer and director Howard Zieff. Together, they collaborated on advertising campaigns, commercials and films.

Crittenden is survived by her brother, Donald Derfner; her sister, Dori Carter and her stepdaughter, Jennifer Crittenden.

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